Joshua Jacobson
Joshua Jacobson, Founder and Artistic Director of the Boston Zamir Chorale, is a man of contrasts. A passionate composer, musician, educator and scholar, he also possesses the gift of public relations savvy. It is this unusual combination that Jacobson employs to fulfill one of his life's goals, disseminating Jewish culture through the extraordinary historical depth and richness of Jewish choral music.

Jacobson founded the Chorale in 1969 with a group of college-age peers from the New Hampshire Zionist summer camp Yavneh. The idea for the Chorale came from the camp's choral director Stanley Sperber, himself the founder of a Jewish choral group in New York, also called Zamir. "A number of us had been singing in a choir during the summer there and enjoyed that experience and wanted to make it happen during the rest of the year," remembers Jacobson. The Chorale has grown to 50 members since then, with Jacobson continually at its helm during its 30 years of operation.

In addition to his work with the Boston Zamir Chorale, Jacobson serves as Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Northeastern University in Boston, where he also founded the Jewish Studies Department. His articles on Jewish choral music, several of which are available on the Zamir Chorale's website, span time and place, from Renaissance to the present, from Israel to America--as does the repertoire of the Chorale.

Asked about his plans for the future Jacobson puts in a plug for his books. His book on cantillation will be published by the Jewish Publication Society in the next year. During his next sabbatical he plans to put together a collection of writings about Jewish music from the bible to the present day. Meanwhile, in response to the question of what he likes best about his work, Jacobson's voice softens and becomes slightly dreamy, "There is a thrill that you get when you are making music in concert, especially when you are in front of an appreciative audience. The experience of a rehearsal when things are clicking and people are getting it with you is also wonderful. And then, the aspect of creating in the sense of composing and arrangement is a real high. Almost like performing, it envelops all your senses. You forget that you're hungry. You forget that it's two in the morning. I also have a passion for research."

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